Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dough or D'Oh!? Datz Dough in South Tampa

Hello Readers!

We might as well call this Desserts Week at LilyOnTheLam as this will be the fourth time I have mentioned pastries this week!  What can I say?  I have a sweet tooth!

If you are a South Tampa resident, you are probably familiar with the hipster gourmet mecca that is Datz.  In the past several years, I have watched Datz evolve from a deli to a gourmet market/wine bar, to a cooking lessons haven and now highlighting its basic components - a foodie heaven.  And I have loved every stop along the way.

However, I have seen the customer service and the food quality go up and down and up and down.  Sometimes I would have the best meal ever and other times I would be so angry with the poor customer service and lackluster food quality, I would swear "never again!"  

I have consistently hated the lack of parking - even with the nearby overflow lot.  I cheered seeing valet parking this past Saturday morning, but booed the $5 price.  But in good times and in bad, I have loved having Datz be a part of the South Tampa food scene because it set the bar high with decor, hipness and a variety of upscale food choices at reasonable prices.  Datz has made the food scene better just due to its presence.

When I heard that Datz had purchased next door Kalupa Bakery and was turning it into a bakery cafe called "Dough" I cheered.  I was eager to see how Datz would turn the aged building into another hipster must-see/must-taste place.

I made two trips in the past couple months to sample various different versions of Dough's pastries.  I have yet to dine off their lunch menu, but look forward to doing so.

Gelato from Dough

Dough Bakery Case

Dough's Donuts!

Second bakery case

Part of the cafe seating area - LOVE the decor

For Trip One, I purchased: a chicken pot pie turnover, a bacon maple doughnut, a chocolate snickerdoodle - and I think a rum vanilla cupcake - I just thought it was so cute I glossed over the actual name of it.

The chicken pot pie turnover was delicious - an extremely buttery rich crust with a small amount of chicken, vegetables and gravy encapsulated within the folded over crust pocket.  Unfortunately for my tastebuds, the crust was too rich and overpowered the small amount of filling.  I would have liked some shredded chicken and a drizzle of gravy on top to balance out the extremely buttery crust.  

The bacon maple doughnut was amazing - if you like thick slabs of bacon and pure maple flavor, you will love this doughnut.  I had three friends try this doughnut recently, 2 loved it, 1 didn't care for it.  So like a gum commercial - 3 out of 4 say you should try this doughnut!

Oh and did I neglect to mention the doughnut is filled with custard?  Delicious, rich, tongue tantalizing custard .... ohhh so good!  As the world's worst photo stylist, I have positioned the maple bacon doughnut against a large purse/small trunk ("steampunk style") made out of a ouija board that I purchased on  I chose to do this because the maple bacon doughnut is soooo sinfully good, it's best to call some ghosts to protect you from the devil!

The chocolate snickerdoodle ... first, I have to admit that I am an idiot.  This will come into play later in my tale.  My absolute favorite molasses snickerdoodle cookie is made by D'Amico & Sons in Minneapolis.  (Second favorite D'Amico & Sons' item?  The turkey and dried cherries pasta salad with poppyseed dressing.  AMAZING.  If you're not near a D'Amico & Sons, make a version of the pasta salad at home with this recipe.  Perfect for summer picnics and barbecues- as long as you keep it cold.)  

Which by the way, in googling D'Amico's website for this link I just remembered that there is a D'Amico & Sons in Naples, Florida and yet I have never been there.  Argh!  Another road trip is needed (and a stop for carrot cake at Mel's Diner in Bonita Springs!)

OK anyway, I love a molasses snickerdoodle cookie - well the one from Dough is a chocolate snickerdoodle cookie, but looks exactly the same as a molasses snickerdoodle.  So even though I read the sign that said "CHOCOLATE" snickerdoodle, my brain and stomach were set on a D'Amico & Sons molasses snickerdoodle.  So when I took a bite of Dough's chocolate snickerdoodle-- all sweet with delicious chocolate chunks, I was disappointed because I wanted a molasses one.  That's like my friend Miss A saying that her Cigar City Brewing bread pudding tasted too much like bread.

So if you like chocolate snickerdoodles, the one from Dough is very good.  If you apparently suffer from brain trauma like me, you won't like it because you have somehow convinced yourself that the word "chocolate" means "molasses."

Last but not least was a rum vanilla cupcake.  The cream frosting on this cupcake was rich and decadent.  The cupcake itself a little dry.  My favorite cupcakes come from Sweet Tweets Cakery in Carrollwood.  Dough's cupcake was OK, but I prefer Sweet Tweets.

My most favorite item from Dough is not pictured above - cold brewed iced coffee from local Kahwa Coffee Roasting Company.  This is by far my favorite cold brewed coffee in the  entire United States.  If you're in the Tampa Bay area, you must go to one of Kahwa's cafes or any of the local places that serve their cold brew.  It's really delicious.

The customer service at Dough on Trip One was friendly but slow.  I had the urge to jump over the bakery counter and help myself.  The ladies at Kalupa bakery were a tad bit faster.  Too bad Dough didn't hire them instead of the good-looking, faux boho-hipster wannabes.  Listen, do angst on your time - let's make it more snappy on that cold brew, OK? ;-)

Trip Two to Dough - I was going to attend a small celebration of twin one year olds birthday and since Sweet Tweets didn't open until 11 a.m. on a Saturday which was too late for my needs, I decided to get a selection of pastry from Dough instead.  

I arrived at 9 a.m. and the skinny, young, faux Boho hipster gentleman serving me was either half-asleep, hung over or both.  He acted as if he was walking through rice pudding.  I started off saying I would be placing a large order and if he could get a large box.  I then requested two items from the first bakery case and he said "OK that's it, right?" in a pained voice.  Well no, that's not it - so after each item I requested he would ask a huffy, annoyed "OK that's it, right?"  Each time he asked he got more huffy.  I would have bought more, but I was afraid I would slap him or he would slap me if I asked for one more thing.  

Side note:  There were only 2 people behind me and they were being waited on by another employee, so it's not like I was holding up a line or being really slow.  The attitude was not justified.  

Gee, I am sorry that wanting to buy multiple expensive items is making you frustrated and annoyed, Mr. Sleepy/Hungover.  Maybe you should get a job that starts later in the day!  Take a page from the deli counter workers at Fresh Market and Publix and say "What else can I get you, today?" instead of making me feel like I am wasting your time by ordering more than two items.  I love Dough's hip cafe feel, but for counter service I'd like a lot less hipness and a lot more fast, efficient customer service.  Whatever happened to upsell, upsell, upsell?

I felt like Homer Simpson shouting "D'Oh!" instead of cheering "Dough!"  

Trip Two - bakery display at Dough

Trip Two - bakery  case at Dough

A Box Full of Treats!
Despite the bad attitude/lack of good customer service, I still managed to go hog wild with the selection of deliciousness - in the picture above starting in the upper lefthand corner - a maple bacon cupcake, a red velvet brownie, Dough's version of a Ding Dong, a mini carrot cake, 2 campfire s'more tarts, 2 of Dough's version of an Oreo and of course the maple bacon doughnut described in Trip One.

My fellow taste testers - Ms. LP and Mrs. KRG joined me in trying some of the items above.  Unfortunately we chose to do this after lunch, so we didn't get a chance to try everything.  Darn stomachs!  But here's the review of what we did manage to try ...

Dough's Version of a Ding Dong - chocolate cake, whipped cream-like filling ... this should have been amazing.  Unfortunately it tasted old and dried out - like it had been in the refrigerator case much too long.  I bet this would be incredible fresh, but all 3 of us agreed it was not good as is.

Mini Carrot Cake - Mrs. KRG is a self-proclaimed carrot cake snob, so I knew we would have differing opinions on the carrot cake.  Ms. LP liked it.  I liked the frosting and the large pecans along the side of the cake, but was confused on the actual cake part.  It tasted like spice cake with a couple long, stringy dried out carrot shreds thrown in.  It did not taste like carrot cake at all and it was very dried out.  Even the crushed pineapple in the batter did not lend it any moistness.  

Mrs. KRG did not like it, plain and simple.  I have had carrot cake at Berns Steakhouse and Ocean Prime - two of the more expensive restaurants in Tampa and I still choose the very inexpensive carrot cake at Mel's Diner in Bonita Springs as the best carrot cake I have ever had.  

Campfire S'mores Tarts - I was excited to try these because I had seen them profiled on our local TV news.  The tart shell is graham cracker.  There is a layer of chocolate ganache and a homemade marshmallow.  The marshmallow is bruleed and then the whole tart is put under a dome and a smoker is used to impart a smoky flavor.  Then honey is drizzled over the entire tart.  Watching the tv show I thought "Really? Does it need honey too?  That seems like too much."  

Our three testers were in agreement on most elements of this dessert.  1) We couldn't taste any smokiness whatsoever.  2) The graham cracker tart shell was lacking flavor.  To me it reminded me of a British digestive biscuit cookie and not in a good way.  3)  The ganache was good but extremely rich and there was way too much of it.  It overpowered everything.  4)  The homemade marshmallow was extremely fresh and very, very, very good - the best part about the dish.  5) The honey was overkill.  

A better tasting tart shell, a lot less ganache, bigger marshmallow, skip the honey and don't tell people you smoked it - and you'll have a winning tart.    

The rest of the treats were left for Ms. LP, her twins and her family - so I'll have to check in with her to get reaction on the remaining pastries!

I have heard via Dough's Facebook page that they are working on their own version of the croissant doughnut, so I'll be interested to see how they stack up against local favorite Piquant Epicure & Cuisine.

So for my two trips to Dough, there were some hits and some misses (D'oh!).  I do look forward to trying their lunch menu.  Their decor is like a French bistro mixed with a cotton candy dream and I love it, love it, love it!

I appreciate that the Tampa Bay food scene continues to evolve and that we have more places in line with a "big city."  I enjoy the decor and atmosphere at Dough, as well as its sister restaurant Datz.  I think if the staff at Dough check their bakery cases to make sure the cooling isn't drying out their pastries and to make sure they keep fresh inventory, their gorgeous desserts will taste as good as they look.  Also take the counter staff on a field trip to a large Publix deli and give them a lesson on speed, efficiency and cheery dispositions.  Trust me, your customers will thank you for it.    

July 20, 2013 Update:  Datz Dough has announced via their Facebook page that starting Monday, July 22, 2013 they will start selling their own version of the croissant doughnut in limited quantities.  If you try one of Datz Dough's "faux-nuts" croissant doughnuts, let me know what you think about it in the comments section below.  If you just have to have a croissant doughnut before Monday, read my review of Piquant's new guava croissant doughnut here.

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